Workload Automation

Innovations in the Broadcom Workload Automation Portfolio

March 10, 2023


There is a noticeable evolution of workloads happening today – both inside and outside mainframe environments. In our conversations with customers, three main trends are now guiding the future of workload management and automation: hybrid, shift-left, and observability. True, these terms are quite wide and broad, but in our work with customers, we have identified their needs – not only from the mainframe perspective but in regards to workload automation in general in their organizations.

For the past several years we have been adding innovations to our workload automation portfolio to address these trends; many are in-market now and others will be coming soon. We decided to publish a comprehensive series of blogs and other materials to make you aware of the customer problems you can solve and the business value you can drive – with solutions to which you are likely already licensed! In this post we’ll lay out the “roadmap” for these innovations and point you to additional resources – we’ll update this post with new links as new resources become available.

Cloud: Managing Workload in a Hybrid IT Environment

Let’s start with hybrid. Nowadays, organizations use a wide variety of technologies and platforms including mainframe, on-premises, and cloud. Rarely are business processes isolated to one single platform, and you need the solution to manage workload across the whole platforms throughout the organization to support your business processes.

Regardless of the platform choice, you always can leverage Broadcom mainframe schedulers (CA 7 Workload Automation Intelligence and ESP Workload Automation Intelligence) for your mainframe and distributed workloads. You can also connect all your workload schedulers to Automic Automation Integration (AAI) for one-stop shop SLA management, while still enjoying all the benefits of a variety of platforms, and audit compliance and security.

While AAI provides a single point of view across all the workloads running through various schedulers and platforms, our mainframe native schedulers (CA 7 and ESP) are addressing cloud/web service integration needs via new agent job types and ready-to-use plug-ins. These capabilities allow workload teams to connect CA 7 and ESP to SaaS applications without requiring any custom scripting (e.g., CURL), which requires a different skillset. For organizations, this capability reduces custom development, which requires maintenance and hinders rapid scalability and change.

Shift-Left: Enabling Developers to Manage Their Needs

What does “shift-left” mean? Simply put, it’s our response to a request that we frequently hear from customers to shift work from infrastructure and operations teams to application developer teams. Visualize a workflow that proceeds left to right, from development to production, and the “shift-left” terminology becomes clearer.

Shift-left is often driven by an organization’s DevOps transformation, as they work to meet requirements to react faster to market changes and increased competition. Success requires an acceleration of the development process, a key part of which involves enabling self-service - essentially giving some responsibilities of operators or system administrators to developers, to DevOps engineers, while still ensuring a sustainable environment without compromising the security or integrity of your business processes. Shift-left is all about improving efficiency, enabling development to self-serve their needs, and freeing the infrastructure teams from needing to respond to low-skill task requests.

The technology enabler of shift-left is the introduction of RESTful APIs and language-agnostic tools which can be used to construct the automation scripts necessary to enable self-service. Broadcom has been very proactive in ensuring that our key mainframe schedulers, ESP and CA 7, have the APIs that you need to shift left your workloads. In addition to our aggressive focus on workload management APIs, we have also been very busy in the area of agent management APIs. We’re working on a post to provide more detail on this innovation, check back here later for the link.

In all cases involving self-serve APIs, it’s important to stress that we are not talking about the replacement of roles - we're talking about expanding existing roles. Several customers are already benefiting from our APIs by modernizing their DevOps processes, making operations more efficient, and sharing critical workload data with enterprise dashboards and event aggregators.

We can only be successful in this if we clearly understand each customer’s needs. We want to understand how this shift is happening in your organization, and how we can support your DevOps journey and tailor our interfaces, and our tools, for the personas you have so you can focus on achieving your business goals. Please contact us and we’ll set up some time to chat!

Observability: Using predictive analytics and modern UIs to Manage Enterprise SLAs

Finally, let’s touch on the topic of observability. Observability is all about providing better visibility into your business processes and underlying infrastructure. Again, it's a broad term, but generally derives from an understanding that you want to absorb what is happening in your organization, and with modern complexity - a lot of interconnections, a lot of technology stacks, and tools - you need to get to the essence, to filter through the noise, so you can focus on the most important information. The easiest and simplest way to do this is to leverage web UIs that are tailor-made for your Operators, Application Owners, Application Developers, and new Schedulers who want to learn about critical paths, application topology, SLAs, and do not want to use green screen UI.

Although commentaries on observability largely focus on analytics, we must remember that feeding data to the analytics is critical - and that's where scheduling engines themselves come in, making information available not just to tools like Broadcom’s AAI but also third-party tools that take broader views and where workload automation is a subset. Generating notifications, events, and things like that - making those available is certainly a part of helping observability. Transparency is key!

AAI for example enhances observability by empowering Application owners to honor their application SLAs. It also helps schedulers proactively fix jobs that could impact application SLAs.

Scheduling engines are very much responsible for enabling observability via web UIs and features such as advanced filtering that allow you to weave through volumes of data and narrow your focus quickly. 

Our Agent Manager, for example, is essentially a tool that extends observability into what's going on within the agent infrastructure. It provides Workload Automation Operators a view of the status of all system agents across multiple instances of schedulers in a consolidated view and enables Workload Automation Administrators to monitor, troubleshoot, manage, and upgrade thousands of system agents in a single pane of glass. This is important - it addresses the big business challenge of keeping the inventory of hundreds of thousands of agents (in some cases) secure and auditable, and incorporates a modern UI to simplify your approach.

Take Action Now!

Please read this blog to learn more about managing workloads in a hybrid cloud environment, this blog to learn more about using a shift-left approach towards optimizing developer efficiency for mainframe scheduling, and this blog to learn more about using observability to provide better visibility into your business processes and underlying infrastructure.

We’re working on more posts to provide additional detail on the innovations highlighted here and we will update this post with the links when they are published - so check back for more details!

IT Leaders: Evaluate your current solutions to ensure they can manage workloads across a variety of technologies and platforms and enable self-service for developers. You should embrace the shift-left trend, shifting some responsibilities from infrastructure and operations teams to application developer teams. You should also focus on observability and ensure your teams have the necessary tools for the job - web UIs, advanced filtering, and analytics. Lastly, you should engage with Broadcom to understand how our workload automation solutions can support your modernization journey to meet your organization's specific needs.

Cloud Architects, Enterprise Architects, Application Developers, and Automation Engineers: Mainframe technology is still critical and plays a vital role in workload management and automation. To develop new architectures and applications for managing workloads across various technologies and platforms, including mainframe, on-premises, and cloud, it is essential to understand the hybrid trend and the significant role that mainframe plays in it. Rather than building redundant capabilities, it is beneficial to understand the capabilities of Broadcom's mainframe schedulers, which can help quickly build on existing applications and infrastructure, and reduce development time and cost. You should collaborate with your in-house mainframe experts or reach out to Broadcom to understand how Broadcom’s Workload Automation solutions can be leveraged and integrated.

Mainframe Scheduling Teams: To ensure you are involved in your organization's modernization initiatives, take a proactive approach by reaching out to your leadership and distributed software teams. Additionally, connect with Broadcom to learn about the new capabilities of CA 7 and ESP, which can help you participate in your organization's modernization story. If you are unsure about how Broadcom can assist in this effort, consider scheduling a Design Thinking Workshop to map our capabilities to your needs and goals.

Broadcom Workload Automation solutions can help organizations manage workloads across different technologies and platforms, enable self-service for developers, and provide better visibility into workloads and SLAs. Irrespective of the use case, our WLA capabilities can help you automate and integrate. Additionally, Broadcom can provide personalized support and conduct Design Thinking Workshops to tailor solutions to your specific needs and goals.

Praveen Verma, Daniel Shannon, Alexander Moshkov, and Larry England contributed to this post.